Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu: Season 1/ Episode 1 “To The Frontlines” [Series Premiere] – Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)

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The goal.

Samurais who are at war with demons who want to change history. Anyone else surprised this premise didn’t come from the SyFy network? Home of Sharknado.

The Introduction

For reasons unknown, an organization referred to as the “Time Retrograde Army” travel to different points in time seeking to change things. It can be stealing treasure, assassinating someone, or various other things which disrupt history. From what it seems, the only people who have stepped up to stop them are the team of Saniwa.

A team which we are told isn’t that large. In this episode alone we may have met most of them. There is Kunihiro, who is seemingly the newest recruit. Then there is Kane who is his partner and mentor. Following them around is Konnosuke, who is some kind of high-tech robotic cat from 2205, where Saniwa is from. Lastly, there is Tonbokiri, a lancer and Mutsunokami, who uses guns and apparently has a rivalry with Kane.

Together, they face floating fish-like skeletons and dozens of generic looking demons. All of which pour in through disturbances in time. As for who leads them, where they come from and, again, why they do this? Well, you’ll have to stick around to find out.

Highlights

BLOOD!

I don’t know why, but it seems blood has been dialed back in recent times. Not to imply this show is a Quentin Tarantino styled blood bath, but I also found it weird when there is action without bodily fluids. Especially when people are killed or slain.

Low Points

There Is A Slight Generic Vibe

With a slightly familiar premise, I can swear there was something similar one or two seasons ago, just more weird, Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu seems generic. For while there remains a wealth of things one can do with samurais, time travel, and even combining the two, what hurts the show is the character’s personalities. Take Saniwa, the big boss or rather master. He is this happy go lucky blonde who seems to be just a more experienced Kunihiro.

Speaking of Kunihiro, he comes off one step ahead of the usual fish out of water protagonist we are used to. The kind who, through some kind of portal, ends up in a whole new world and era and somehow is chosen for a fantastical task. One which they are in no way prepared for yet seemingly had innate abilities to do.

And I could go on and on but, long story short, even with a good balance of action with just watching Kane and Kunihiro travel, I just got bored.

On The Fence

How About Some History?

I am in no way asking for a Meteora, from Re:Creators, type of monologue. However, it would be cool to get some insight on where they are, the importance of the events they are trying to maintain, much less why they can’t interfere in others. Otherwise, while the show may be giving us beautiful scenery, it becomes something similar to the background of a fighting game. Vibrant, yes, but also kind of static as well.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

Either this is simply not a show for my taste or maybe just a dime a dozen. Which there is nothing wrong with. There naturally are shows which are just made to maybe give a boost to its manga’s sales. Perhaps similar to YA novel adaptations, there is more so hope for a hit, to maybe seem like it can stand out, vs. knowing so.

Hence the mixed label. Can Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu be enjoyable? Probably. However, will it be remembered for anything one or two seasons from now? Probably not.

No ratings yet.

What's Your Take?

Author: Amari Sali

New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.

Questions, Comments, or Opposing Opinion?